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Is the Navy Abandoning Ship with the F-35?

Written by on Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

One of the original selling points of the F-35 was that it could come in one of the three variants. The A variants was the vanilla model that you’d see at most airbases. The B and C models were generally designed with the Navy in mind, as they could handle the unique demands of taking off and landing on aircraft carriers.

The idea was pretty simple: because the basic skeleton of each F-35 would be identical and only a few alterations would be required for the B and C models, the burden on taxpayers would be kept at a minimum. Now, it seems as though the F-35 is costing the taxpayer more than we ever expected.

Delays, design flaws, technical problems, and a host of other issues have been plaguing the F-35 recently, which has been causing the Navy’s eyes to begin wandering. The US Navy may be looking for an alternative to the F-35B and the F-35C, though it’s denying that it’s doing any window shopping.

Analysts speculate that using an alternative, such as the FA-18 E/F Super Hornet, would reduce the Navy’s spending by as much as $43 billion. And if they how to buy antibiotics in uk can’t find a suitable replacement, maintenance on the fleet of F-35s will cost a whopping $1.1 trillion over the next several decades.

Another possible threat to the F-35 is the drone. Should any of us really be surprised? Everything that drones are bringing to the table could just as easily apply to the Navy as the Air Force. Arming the Navy’s aircraft carriers with drones will, in theory, give us the same amount of bang for a smaller buck. Of course, all of that depends on our ability to develop drones that can land reliably on aircraft carriers. Drones have a bad track record of crashing unnecessarily. The last thing the DoD needs is for a failed drone landing to sink a US ship.

If the Navy does actually seal a deal with another aircraft supplier, that will deliver a serious blow to the JSF program and to Lockheed Martin. It will certainly shake the confidence of other nations that have signed up for the JSF program if the US Navy backs out of this supposedly top-notch homegrown aircraft.

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